Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii) plays an important role in Northwest ecosystems and cultures. Madrones can grow up to 100 feet tall and live for more than a century. Their roots spread widely and provide erosion control on rocky outcrops and sandy bluffs.
Indigenous people of the Northwest use parts of the tree for medicine, cooking, and to make tools and boats. Wood from a madrone that once stood on the site of the Burke now covers the walls of the east entrance to the museum, welcoming visitors and reminding us of its lasting impact.